Author Archives: Stephen

Gutless on Guns: US Congress & Media

Published / by Stephen

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What are they thinking. 300 mass shootings in 3 years. There is a solution. Quit taking about the tragedies and address the problem. Sensible gun regulation and ownership – treat ownership as an earned privilege not a right:

No assault rifles; No automatic or semi-automatic weapons; Serious background checks (minimum age, mental health, criminal record, etc.; Require non-perpetual licensing and training;  No political donations from gun manufactures and from the NRA.

I have lost total respect for both parties of Congress and the TV news media. Do something meaningful about the continuing tragedies — Enough is enough!

Also see Guns, Mental Illness & Public Policy and NYT Opinion Today Feb. 15, 2018

Fact-Checking State Of The Union Speech

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Nicholas Kristof’s Fact-Check of Trump:

The role of the press isn’t to applaud politicians but to provide accountability, so here’s my on-the-fly commentary and fact-checking of President Trump’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress tonight. This isn’t a formal column but my play-by-play assessment in the form of selected tweets. Hang on!

Tweets worth a read.

Wall Street Making Big Mistake

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Levin Report: Trump Warns Stock Market Is Making a “Big Mistake”

It’s only one tweet. But there’s so much to appreciate:

1. When Trump says the stock market went down because of “good news,” what he’s referring to is the fact that many have attributed Monday’s drop (as well as last Friday’s) to the strong U.S. employment numbers which, among other things, are leading traders to fear higher wage demands and rising inflation, at a time when the economy is getting a giant, yuuuge stimulus in the form of the tax cuts. Trump was actually warned by a lot of people, who he didn’t listen to, that given where unemployment was—at a multi-year low—and the relative strength of the economy, now was the exact wrong time for a stimulus. (“Passing the tax reform bill is like throwing a small cup of gasoline on a fire that’s already burning,” one expert said.) But he did it anyway, because he’s stupid, and now the markets are worried about a recession (which Trump was also warned about).

2. You know he has literally no idea how modern financial markets operate and that his basis for the stock market is a bunch of guys holding up little pieces of paper and shouting on the floor of the stock exchange.

3. Isn’t it great that Trump believes he can bully and intimidate the “Stock Market” like he does his political enemies? What’s he going to do to the “Stock Market”? Fire it? Send it back to its country of origin? Demand it produce its long-form birth certificate?

4. We’re calling it now: the president is one indignity away from giving the stock market a derogatory epithet. Watch your back, Liddle Stock Market! Fake Tears Stock Market! Low Energy Stock Market! Sad!

3% Growth is Still Nonsense

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From Krugman, my favorite Keynesian – the introduction and the punch line:

It’s a sure thing that Donald Trump will spend much of his State of the Union boasting about the economy. So this seems like a good time for a refresher on some basic macroeconomics – and the reasons why the expansion of 2017, which continued the long expansion that began in 2010, is in no sense a justification for wildly optimistic growth projections looking forward.

[data] suggests a potential growth rate – growth consistent with constant unemployment – of maybe 1.5 percent. And 2017 isn’t an outlier.

Why is potential growth so low? Unfavorable demographics are one big culprit: the baby-boomers are getting old (you kids get off my lawn), so the working-age population is barely growing. Oh, and cracking down on immigration is, you know, not likely to help on that front.

Productivity growth is also lackluster, despite all the hype about robots and all that.

So if you think about it, 2017 offers no evidence to support big talk about future growth. On the contrary, the fact that unemployment declined despite not-so-fast growth is a sign that growth will be a lot slower going forward, now that we don’t have a lot of unemployed Americans to put back to work.

Trump: US Open to Money Not People

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Robert Reich puts Trump’s Davos’ speech in context:

Trump to global CEOs and financiers in Davos, Switzerland: “America is open for business.” We’re now a great place for you to make money. We’ve slashed taxes and regulations so you can make a bundle here.

Trump to ambitious young immigrants around the world, including those brought here as children: America is closed. We don’t want you. Forget that poem affixed to the Statue of Liberty about bringing us your poor yearning to breathe free. Don’t even try.

In Trump’s America, global capital is welcome, people aren’t.

Fox News on Republican FBI Memo Sham

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Reported by the Daily Kos Jan 26, 2018: Fox News Shep Smith blows hole in Republican FBI memo sham.

Fox News Shep Smith has been giving the Republicans hell lately exposing their lies and misinformation. In this recent report, he nails Rep. Devin Nunes & the Right Wing for attempting to release a misleading memo to help the president by maligning the FBI.

Smith goes on to conclude:

A memo can be a weapon of party mass distraction especially at a pivotal moment in American history when it behooves the man in charge for supporters to believe the institutions can’t be trusted, investigators are corrupt, and the news media are liars. Context matters.”

Trump Subverting The Rule of Law

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From the New York Magazine: Paul Ryan Is the Silent Partner in Trump’s War on the Rule of Law

Here is the last paragraph. The article is eye-opening.

And now, Trump and his allies are circulating absurd lies about the Department of Justice in order to enable the administration to avoid any accountability to the rule of law. The heart of this campaign is the chamber Ryan controls. It is not only or even primarily Devin Nunes, The Wall Street Journal editorial page, and Fox & Friends that are marching into the fever swamps. The invisible man at front of the march is Paul Ryan.

David Leonhardt, an Op-Ed Columnist for the NYTs has more on Trump and the “Rule of Law:”

We now know — thanks to Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman of The Times — that Trump did try to subvert the rule of law. In June, he issued an order to fire Mueller, with three silly justifications (including the fact Mueller once quit Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va.).

 

 

Woman’s March 2018

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Selected signs from The Woman’s March January 2018. Reported in various sources including The Daily Koss: Moron-in-Chief thinks the ladies are marching for him. 

 

 

RollingStone: Liar In Chief

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RollingStone: Donald Trump: Liar in Chief

He steals credit, describes the average as superlative, invents history and spins conspiracy theories

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Trump’s Shareholder Bonanza

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Robert Reich – Trump’s Shareholder Bonanza:

The evidence is in: The biggest beneficiaries of the Trump-Republican tax plan are shareholders.

Yesterday, Bank of America Brian Moynihan said that “most of the benefits” from the tax cuts “will flow to the bottom-line through dividends and share buybacks over time.”

Exactly. Dividends and share buybacks boost share prices. And that’s all corporate America wants to do.

Moynihan noted that in 2017, Bank of America had $16.6 billion of net income available to shareholders and returned $16.8 billion through dividends and buyback. “So, yes, we will expect to return more capital to shareholders given the tax [cut].”

Even the expectation of a big corporate tax cut have caused shares to soar.

[But} Because the richest 1 percent of Americans owns 40 percent of all shares of stock, and the richest fifth owns 80 percent, this is great news for the wealthy.

It’s not great news for anyone else.

Read on.